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In a new article, David Jacobson praises federal investments in early education and care. But, he writes, one “critically important” issue that receives less attention is partnerships.

Specifically, he asks, “how can elementary schools, early childhood programs, and health and social service agencies work together to improve quality and coordination across entire neighborhoods and communities and thus create the most positive overall environments possible for children and families?”

The article — “A game-changing opportunity: Rethinking how communities serve children and families” – appears on the website of Yale Medical School’s Partnership for Early Education Research (PEER).

Jacobson has been a longtime advocate of partnerships. He is the Principal Technical Advisor, Education Development Center, Inc., (EDC). And he also leads “EDC’s First 10 initiative, which supports school-early childhood-community partnerships to improve outcomes for children ages birth through 10 and their families.”

As he writes in the article:

Decades of research confirm that addressing the challenges of poverty requires that the education, health, and social programs that children and families experience be of high-quality; that they be coordinated to have the most positive impact; and that the services children experience each year throughout their first decade of life are aligned such that they build on the previous year and prepare children for the next.”

In other words, partnerships matter – but there aren’t enough of them.

“…COVID-19 has exposed a fundamental truth about our systems of learning and care: they are fragmented and siloed, thwarting efforts to improve the quality of learning and care for children.”

Fortunately, there are good models of communities where “preschools, elementary schools, and community health and social service organizations join forces to create and carry out a clear equity agenda that focuses on improving the quality of life for low-income children and their families and children of color and their families.”

Their successes, Jacobson explains, highlights three core design principles: connecting the early years to the early grades; deepening partnerships with families; and strengthening communities.

To learn more, please check out Jacobson’s article.